July 17, 2010
What interests and amuses me most about the March Family Saga ('Little Women', 'Little Men', and 'Jo's Boys') is taking note of what has NOT changed in the past 100+ years, in the way of human nature and Western (European/American) social attitudes.
This series definitely joins my list of recommended reading for serious students of behaviour, who wish to understand the distaff side of human nature. In it can be found many revealing glimpses into how girls and women view themselves, how they relate among themselves, and how they view and relate to the males of our species. While some works must be interpreted as allegory, the author of this series spelled out her viewpoints and precepts in plain and simple terms, since her aim was clearly to teach young girls about life (although one may wonder about that after reading 'Jo's Boys'). In so doing, she teaches the rest of us about girls. While social roles and vocational opportunities have changed and expanded since the series was written, many of the attitudes and viewpoints expressed within have, to this day, not changed at all.
In addition to all of that, 'Little Women' gives us some insight into the process of becoming an author. The Wikipedia article on Louisa May Alcott reveals that 'Little Women' is semi-autobiographical, and that Louisa based the character "Jo" on herself, so it is very likely her own experience she was narrating when she had Jo turn to writing as a creative outlet, and then described how Jo developed her skills as she sought to be published.